On January 14–15, 2022, the island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai was destroyed by a volcanic explosion, estimated to be equivalent to a 10-megaton blast. The underwater volcano “Tonga” is located in the South Pacific situated under the uninhabited island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, now obliterated.
This eruption triggered tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific Ocean. The sonic wave was heard as far away as the Yukon region in Alaska, over 6,000 miles (10,000 km) away. Residents of Alaska report being woken up between 5:00 pm and 6:45 pm to a loud rumbling. Scientists believe the sonic boom was the loudest sound on earth to happen since the 1883 eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia, which was estimated to be 235 dB in the epicenter.
It is reported that shifting along the subduction zone caused seawater to enter into the magma formed chambers below the island. The combination of temperature change, pressure, water, and rock contributed to the once in a lifetime sonic event.
For more information review the reference articles below.
Brumfiel G. (2022) NASA Scientists Estimate Tonga Blast at 10 megatons. NPR. Morning Edition. January 18.
Carroll L. (2022) Noise from Underwater Volcanic Eruption across the Pacific Heard in the Yukon. CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada. January 15.
Staab W. (2016) Loudest Sound. Hearing Health Matters. November 22.
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